Combining Business And Art

SCN: What are your responsibilities at Sennheiser? Official and day-to-day.
Anthony Buzzeo: I am the company's MI channel manager/wired mics product manager. My responsibilities include strategic planning for products sold to the music industry which are predominantly wired and wireless mics sold at MI pricepoints. I also have product management responsibilities for all wired mics sold to all distribution channels, including IS. This aspect of the job addresses the classic "womb to tomb" management of products; launches, promotions, sales and inventory monitoring, forecasting, etc. In short, I am the point person for product issues at any point of a product's lifecycle.

My day-to-day also includes close contact with our reps and some key customers for prospecting and documentation of market needs. Without this, I really wouldn't be able to do my job very well. Sennheiser is very customer service driven. Our mission statement promises that we delight our stakeholders and deliver results. Keeping one's ear to the ground in real time is a good way to keep this going while also noting trends.

How do your background, education and experience contribute to how you do your job today?
My deep affection for this company began years before I came on board. I was a Sennheiser practitioner in the recording industry so naturally I was exposed to these mics in professional studios. Even though some early technical training comes into play as well, for the most part, the art of deep listening governs how I do my job, particularly in what I want a customer to know about a product. This probably comes from many years of training as a musician. You can talk specs until you are blue in the face and still not be anywhere with regard to the sound or experience of a microphone. On the education side I have two Masters degrees, one in music and the other in business. Balancing inputs from both disciplines is paramount to good decision making.

Where do you see the market heading in terms of technology trends?
Display technologies are now demanding greater audio excellence for the first time. So for the future, I think we'll see less AV for the sake of V alone! In the past, people were accustomed to listening with their eyes, but no longer. Somebody will have to redirect the derogatory cliches about audio in video. Also, on the wireless end, live conference video streaming will excel on the audio side as transmittable bandwidths expand.

How do the demands of contractors compare to those of 5 or 10 years ago?
The pace is much faster now and with these great new technologies, the knowledge base needed to compete is even greater. Bids still take time, but contractors have to be ready to mobilize at a moment's notice to get the right equipment and then execute the installation flawlessly. This market has grown tremendously over the past 15 years and consequently many new businesses have emerged. The best out there are keenly in tune with their client base and often take chances with new concepts, keeping them ahead of the pack.